New Data Exchange Standards

The Object Management Group (OMG) and Health Level Seven International (HL7) have released the hData Record Format and hData RESTful Transport specifications, a framework that–when combined–offers the scalable creation, storage and exchange of health information. The architecture could be used by hospitals or Health Information Exchanges.

The hData Record Format, from Ann Arbor, Mich.-based HL7, presents electronic health records content in a tiered structure that enables physicians to securely access the specific data they need without having to download the entire record.  It does so by using content profiles that specify the actual data included in a particular record, such as the information needed to capture an allergy or condition. This reduces the size of the clinical data set, making it easier for it to be exchanged among systems, organizations and devices. The hData specifications were originally initiated by MITRE Corp., a Bedford, Mass.-based not-for-profit IT research conglomerate.

“Mobile health is a useful tool, but first we need scalable exchange and semantic interoperability of health IT systems,” says Gerald Beuchelt, lead software systems engineer at MITRE. “And then we can support future growth in tools that can all share common data.”

The RESTful Transport specifications from Needham, Mass.-based OMG already are being used by several major companies in other industries. Their web services design model are less expensive and easier to deploy, making it easier to create a prototype of data transfer across organizations and various types of media. Web developers can demonstrate such a prototype within several days, compared with the several months it was taking with other standards, according to OMG.

“This is the latest in a number of standards jointly created as a result of our partnership with OMG,” says John Quinn, CTO at HL7. “This collaborative relationship is successful because it combines HL7’s experience in creating healthcare interoperability standards with OMG’s expertise in distributed process models, wrappers and transport specifications that are common to all industries.”

The hData Record Format is available on the HL7 website, The RESTful Transport specifications are on the OMG website,